Wednesday, 9 November 2016

"To bury or not to bury?"

"To bury? Or not to bury?"

Notes on the recent decison by the Supreme Court
Over the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at Taguig

To bury? Or not to bury? Such a current and still controversial question especially on the issue such as the attempt to bury former President Ferdinand Marcos at the "Heroes' cemetery" at Taguig.

Voting 9-5, the Supreme Court has given the go-signal for the internment, citing on the regulations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Marcos, who was once a soldier in the Commonwealth army, is qualified to be buried at the "Heroes' cemetery" with full honours.

The courts also stated that Marcos had not been dishonorably discharged from active military service nor had not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude. Amidst the issues surrounding his regime such plunder charges and human rights violations.

These basis may have meant a go signal for him to be buried with full military honours as a former soldier if not as the "Commander in Chief", regardless of the controversies surrounding his administration particularly during martial rule.

And in it may sound victorious to most loyalists thinking that he deserves a burial with full military honour due to all his "contributions" to the country both as soldier and as president. But to its victims, it meant a. betrayal of earlier promise to attain justice especially that the government itself has recognised the régime's atrocities during the "New Society", especially those who had endured imprisonment, torture, and some even their deaths all because of their beliefs.

Both wish granting and nightmare provoking in thinking indeed as that the courts has given its go signal, and with various messages of thanks and curses be overheard from Padre Faura to social media, this person thinks that the controversial decision is out of the system's, or rather say the government's desire for reconciliation, to which loyalists care to agree with regardless of the fact that the régime did its dirty work all in the name of restoring order, or even a reaction to the past administration's negligence (as most people cling to Marcosian nostalgia).

Struggle rather than Sobriety,
Dealing instead of Moving

Amidst clamours for acceptance, sobriety, or even the desire to move on as any other part of history, there are those who convinced that neither closure nor reconciliation, but rather continuing struggle for political and economic liberation besides those of attaining justice for the victims of the dictatorship.

As shown by the protests from Supreme Court to those of UP Diliman, those who opposed Marcos's burial at the "heroes' cemetery", mainly victims of Marcos and its succeeding regimes, insist that the late dictator remains guilty of both the atrocities as well as corrupt practises during his regime. 
And in speaking of atrocities, not all those who imprisoned and endured pain if not death were subversives, some of them simply questioned authority in case of Archimedes Trajano, or saidth truth in case of Primitivo Mijares over the dictator's acts. To bury Marcos at the "heroes' cemetery" means their pursuit for justice is deemed useless.

And to think that those who insist acceptance if not describing the burial as healing by those in social media, coupled by decisions from the supreme court about the burial yet failed to put end to the repressions of the order towards less fortunate peoples, neither rhetoric called reconciliation, interpretation called law, nor illusion such as heaven will avert the reality that creates conditions paving way to a possible catharisis in this continuing past.
How come he said so? Simple: the Philippines remained under the hands of self-centred despots and oligarchs, and both of them are interest-seeking plutocrats whose century of repression makes hope rather an illusion if not turning an aspiration into an irony. Duterte may have tried his best to create conditions for change as President, but given that the system is still dominated by these plutocrats, Duterte has to deal with them the way he talked madly about their "dominance", otherwise, it may end as mere rhetorics as his predecessors do talking about the need for "reconstruction" to those of "righteousness" and other word meant to sneer people through the ears as Marcos and his successors did for decades.

And also to think that with those statements demanding society to move on and reconcile as what Marcos loyalists insist or even those of the Supreme Court judges? Not even all would speak those sentiments for some of these loyalists even wanted "blood and iron" flow against "subversives" and other "enemies of the state" the way they say "deal with it" as any other issue to "accept" as any other conclusion. One example is Jovito Palparan, who is currently in prison and also an unrepentant loyalist, and still justifying his atrocities as necessary like his predecessors.

Prefering to be buried in Ilocos

On other hand, there are loyalists who rather abide by the decision burying the late dictator in his province of birth.

For as according to former Vice President Salvador Laurel, he was called to meet the ailing dictator to his deathbed in Hawaii, that he wanted to just die in the Philippines and to be buried beside his mother. However, then President Cory Aquino refused to allow Marcos to be buried not even in Ilocos citing security reasons.

However, years later, the late dictator's body was returned through an agreement. For as according to Rafael Alunan III,  a deal between former president Ramos and the Marcos family was signed in 1992 that states the following:
  • The Philippine government will allow the return of Marcos' remains to the Philippines on the condition that "it's flown straight to Paoay" in Ilocos Norte, from Hawaii 
  • Marcos "would be given honors befitting a major of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, because that was his last rank in the Armed Forces"
  • Marcos' remains "will not be allowed to be paraded in Metro Manila" because the wounds of the Marcos regime "were still fresh in the minds of many people, and we could not afford bloodshed and instability during our watch" 
  • "Because the burial will have to be done in Ilocos Norte, there will be no burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani"
The idea behind burying in Ilocos seemed pragmatic, if not based on a personal account that happened to be less political and more of familial matter. Besides that, there are other dead presidents who were buried in their respective plots such as Aguinaldo near his residence in Cavite or Roxas in Cemeterio del Norte.

Furthermore, he was least given a decent, Christian burial but without the priviledges as a late head of state, in an attempt to make it less political.

Or in case of Jose Maria Sison, also an Ilocano, said:

"My bottom line is that the Marcos family (including the supporters) keeps the remains of the fascist dictator Marcos in Ilocos Norte to better guard them against the wrath of millions of people severely victimized by the Marcos dictatorship,”

A Jacobin fervour 
to attain Freedom and Justice

To those who may think this post as offensive, remember: even Marcos recognise the growing Jacobinism he thinks as a threat to law and order, but people thinks that same Jacobin fervour as what the late dictator described as "liberal or democratic."

And that Jacobin fervour is nonetheless manifested in a form of what that dictator called as a revolt of the poor. The clear and present situations which makes a social volcano dormant may turn active as long as repression and injustice prevail. The system may continue deny every allegiation, but with those truths happened ranging from harassments towards Farmers, Workers, and even Indigenous folks, words like "social concord" are rather empty phrases in both paper and in oral statement.

And since there are those who also afforded to make façades in pursuit of development if not progress in a still repressive and disenfranchising kind of setting, no infrastructure nor "reform" can avert those tremours knowing that these are treated primarily to impress, creating an "atmosphere of hope" that's obviously marred by corruption and various forms of self-interest. That again, intensifies discontent as what happened in Iran during Pahlavi or in Korea during Park Chung Hee and Dun Choo Hwan.
The infrastructures, however, did benefit the people as taxpayers thinking about responsible use of people's money by the government, but it does not mean forget the atrocities the system has brought against the people, for again, those infrastructures were also meant to create an impression yet failed to stop the fervour that is pointing against them. Besides that, why should still cultivate a culture of patronage when in fact it is a duty for the government to ensure the well being of the people regardless of its idea? 

Anyway, that fervour is not just brought by its conditions, but also by the principle that underscores service to one's people amidst hardship, sacrifice, or even death. No infrastructure like those streets, bridges, or even the cultural center and other forms that constitutes a "legacy" can block the desire of most people to reclaim freedom and justice especially those who endure the pain in every stockade or the brutality in every thoroughfare.

For in fact it became the way for people to insist further the unfinished struggles since time immemorial. That even the tombs of every tyrant may feel its unlikely tremor.

That's all.